Yasser Arafat International Airport
|Yasser Arafat International Airport (CLOSED)
مطار ياسر عرفات الدولي
|Operator||Palestinian National Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||320 ft / 98 m|
|01/19||10,091||3,076||Asphalt (severely damaged)|
Yasser Arafat International Airport (Arabic: مطار ياسر عرفات الدولي Maṭār Yāsir 'Arafāt ad-Dawli) (IATA:
GZA, ICAO: LVGZ), formerly Gaza International Airport and Dahaniya International Airport, is located in the Gaza Strip, in between Rafah and Dahaniya, close to the Egyptian border.
The airport opened in 1998. It is owned, and was operated, by the Palestinian Authority, and served as the home airport for Palestinian Airlines. It was able to handle 700,000 passengers per year and operated 24 hours and 364 days a year. The airport closed in 2001 after being severely damaged by Israeli military forces. Its destruction left Gaza Airstrip as the only serviceable runway in the Gaza Strip.
The construction of the airport was provided for in the Oslo II Agreement of 1995. The airport was built with funding from Japan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Germany and designed by Moroccan architects (modeled after Casablanca airport) and engineers funded by Morocco's King Hassan II. The total cost was $86 million. After a year of construction, it opened on 24 November 1998; attendees at the opening ceremony included Yasser Arafat and US President Bill Clinton. At the time, the opening of the airport was described as evidence of progress toward Palestinian statehood. The airport was twinned with Mohammed V International Airport, in Casablanca, Morocco.
The radar station and control tower were destroyed by Israel Defense Forces aircraft in 2001 after the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada, and bulldozers cut the runway apart in January 2002. From 2001 to 2006, airport staff still manned the ticket counters and baggage areas, although no aircraft flew into or out of the airport during that period. The closest public airport in the area is El Arish International Airport in Egypt. The only remaining runway in Gaza after 2002 is that of the Gaza Airstrip. The International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO condemned Israel for the destruction of a civilian airport and navigational devices used for civilian purposes only. Israel's justification was that they might be attacked from this airport as it was the best equipped in Gaza.
On 22 July 2010, 7,203 Gazan children between the ages of 6 and 15 participated in setting a new Guinness World Record for the simultaneous dribbling of basketballs on the airport's undamaged tarmac ramp. Three weeks later, in August 2010, the tarmac ramp was destroyed by Palestinians seeking stones and recycled building materials for reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after the Gaza War.
Buildings and Terminal
- Palestinians cheer airport as first step to statehood, Associated Press, 25 November 1998.
- Grounded in Gaza, but hoping to fly again, MSNBC, 19 May 2005, Retrieved on 2 July 2006
- Years of delays at Gaza airport, Johnston, Alan. BBC News, 15 April 2005, Retrieved on 2 July 2006
- Global Security (2009). Gaza International Airport. Retrieved on 2009-10-08 from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/palestine/gip.htm.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yasser Arafat International Airport.|